Category Archives: Timed Writing

A Bit of a Ramble

I am just wrapping up a day that included four hours of students plus a visit to see a friend with a new baby and a morning filled with eBay work. Yikes. Tired.

Oh, I forgot. My online class started today too.

I am not complaining. Every part of today was easy and rewarding and positive. I’m just ready to go watch television and relax.

I also made spaghetti for lunch and a salad. Yum.

I managed to wash two loads of clothes and made my bed this morning too.

You can see that I am working hard here to get words on the page. I have been writing all day long with students so maybe I can make this 20 minutes just a little shorter tonight.

The dogs are both asleep in the room with me. Ray is upstairs. The fan is whirring in the room where I sit.

August is proving to be warmish if not plain hot. That is better than plain hot so again, I am not complaining.

Okay, folks, I hope you all had a good, productive day.

I am wrapping this up so I can go crawl in bed in air conditioning and watch a new Netflix show that Ray has recommended. I will remember the title shortly after I hit send.

I’ll be checking back in with you tomorrow.

Until then…be well.



Dog News

First, let me say that we have finished Sammie’s grave at the orange grove. We had a round stone on top, but now the concrete one has gone on and it is now decorated.

Ray wrote to some friends:

It is in a very peaceful spot in Ojai. I had to make the dog prints on the left with a stone and my fingers. We tried with Cordelia, on the right, but only got toenails. The little hearts are dog treats that Sammie loved. They will disintegrate and leave little heart imprints. Gregorio put the “S” sideways, for some reason. But, it is cool, as it looks like most of the sign for infinity. We planted Hobbit Jade around the grave, and will put a little mulch on it next time to give it a finished look. A good memorial for a sweet little friend.

Here is a picture.


Second, we have passed our home visit for the BFF K9 Rescue people. We are going tomorrow to meet “Gwen.” This requires driving an hour and a half south to a rendezvous spot where we will meet the rescue woman. She lives in Northern San Diego.


We will be taking Cordelia to meet the new dog.

Right now, Cordelia is snuggled between Ray and me in bed. Ray is rubbing her neck.

Tomorrow, we’ll see if Gwen (we will be changing her name, by the way, if we take her) is right for our family.

Wish us luck.

Sleep well, friends. I’ll be checking in tomorrow with news of our rendezvous.

Back to Pottery Class at the Barnsdall

We went to our pottery class today at the Barnsdall Art Center in Hollywood. Ray, Liz and I are taking this class for the second time. It lasts 10 weeks and is 3 hours every Tuesday night. The best deal in town since for a senior (62 and above) the cost is $90 + $50 materials fee. I think the regular cost is $120 + $50.

I have not done much art in my life, but this is proving to be a treat. I feel as if I’m four again, just playing in the mud. This is slab pottery, not the wheel so there is not as steep a learning curve. Just get in there and start playing.

Here is a picture of a vase I made in the last class.


I am slowly finding my way…

Off I go to bed. It was a busy day today and tomorrow will have it’s own adventures.

I’ll be checking back in. Sleep well, my friends.

A Lovely Time Together

Back to LA after less than 24 hours in Ojai and only a couple of hours at the beach, and yet this quick trip felt as restful as a week away to anywhere else. Such is the power of the Ojai orange grove and a magical little piece of beach in Ventura called “Surfers’ Point.”

We had our friends Jan and Rich Davies with us, along with our sweet granddaughter, Luna. Jan and Rich settled right into the orange grove, picking oranges, helping build the fire and assisting with the cooking of chicken thighs on a grate over coals. Luna played, sang, helped and generally entertained us all with her good spirits at getting to be outside with two of her favorite dogs, Sammie and Cordie. After the eclipse, which was odd, intriguing and beautiful, the moon beamed down with such bright light that no one needed a flashlight in the orange grove. We just trotted around as if there was a soft spotlight over everything. It was lovely the way the trees cast shadows from the moonlight.

This morning we had eggs, turkey bacon and toast made with butter in an iron skillet. Of course, we also had orange juice from oranges picked five minutes before off the trees. There is something indescribably delicious about how fresh and sweet that juice tastes when squeezed so soon after being pulled off of a tree.

Near noon, we headed down to Ventura beach and discovered that we had come on a day when almost no one else was there. Luna, Jan and I played in the surf while Sammie and Cordie ran along the water chasing seagulls and Rich and Ray rested on blankets in the sand. The sun glinting on the water, the rhythmic sound of the surf, and the perfect 77 degree weather created a picture-perfect afternoon at the beach. Luna would have stayed until dark if we hadn’t had to get back; Cordie and Sammie were just as reluctant to leave.

Now we are back home with a week full of work ahead. Luna is back home with her Daddy and Mama, Sammie and Cordie are sacked out in our living room, recovering from all that exercise they got today, and our friends are no doubt already in bed from a little too much sun. They will head back to Wales on Wednesday.

What a lovely short respite. An absolute treat after a concentrated period of travel and work.

We will look back at this short trip with fond memories. A combination of people, places and events that created just the right mix. We will miss our Welsh friends.

Here are a few pictures:

Jan, Luna and Rich


Jan Harvesting Oranges


The Eclipse


Luna Waking Up This Morning


Rich Laid Out at the Beach


Ray, Jan, Luna and Sammie Having Fun


Work, Heat, A Visit and Air Conditioning

Today we were up bright and early – beating the heat – to work on items related to our estate business. We were able to be efficient and busy in the cool before the sun rose above the 14 story building across the street. This is so far the only real advantage of having that very tall building shadowing our house; besides, of course, that time when Lindsey Lohan was living over there for a few weeks and the paparazzi were literally parking in our driveway to get that perfect shot of her as she headed to Starbucks for a latte. But back to the sun…

Yes, it did burn bright again today. I don’t think it was as hot as yesterday by a degree or two, but the humidity was at 44% so it felt humid and pretty toasty.

We went down to Fullerton this afternoon with Luna in tow to visit Auntie Rachael. She recently expressed a desire for scheduled parental visits so she can see us while getting used to the demands of law school. We were happy to accommodate, of course, and it was Ray’s idea to toss Luna into the mix. Rachael, as Luna’s constant companion (and nanny) last year, is severely missing her little charge and needed to see her at least as much, if not more, than Ray or me. Luna needed to see Rachael, as well, based on the look of pure joy on her face when she spotted her. The temperature in Fullerton was 102 when we arrived. Yes, even Texas people will admit that sounds pretty darned hot.

Our visit consisted of going to a hamburger joint with air conditioning and chatting over turkey burgers and fries. Luna ate, played a while, then fell sound asleep on Auntie Rachael’s lap. A very sweet sight, I might say.

This evening when we arrived home, our house was hot even though we had left a few windows open. We spent time in the living room only long enough to break into full sweats before deciding to head up to our one air-conditioned room. That is where I am sitting right now. We have the air conditioner blowing plus a fan just so we get the air to move around. I have not felt anything quite this delicious is a while…

So, let me just say that I am happy to be up here in the cool. Also, I am looking forward to hitting the sack soon. The heat does drain, that is for sure.

On that note, I will bid you adieu.

Talk care, stay cool and see you tomorrow, folks.


Revisiting Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers – A 5-Star Recipe

This is a great recipe for a turkey burger.  It comes from Cook’s Country Magazine, which is part of America’s Test Kitchen and I can guarantee this is one seriously excellent burger.

The Fried Onion Burger (FOB) apparently originated during the Depression in El Reno, Oklahoma, which is 25 miles from Oklahoma City. Mashing onions into the burgers allowed the cooks to use less meat. However, I must say that the flavor that you get from these burgers makes up for any meat you might not use.

Let me know if you try it.  I’d love to hear your impressions.

Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers

1 large onion, halved and sliced 1/8 inch thick
salt and pepper
12 oz 85 percent lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 T unsalted butter
1 tsp vegetable oil
4 slices of American cheese
4 hamburger buns, buttered and toasted

1. Combine onion and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a colander and let sit for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Using tongs, transfer onion to clean dish towel, gather edges and squeeze onion dry. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp pepper.

2. Divide onion mixture into 4 separate mounds on a rimmed baking sheet. Form beef (or turkey) into 4 lightly packed balls and season with salt and pepper. Place beef/turkey balls on top of onion mounds and flatten firmly so that the onion adheres and patties measure 4 inches in diameter.

3. Melt butter with oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Using spatula, transfer patties to skillet, onion side down, and cook until onion is deep golden brown and beginning to crisp around the edges, 6-8 minutes. Flip burgers, increase their heat to high and cook until well browned on the 2nd side, about 2 minutes. Place 1 slice of cheese on each bottom bun. Place burgers on buns, add desired toppings and serve.

I served these with rosemary roasted potatoes. This was a great side dish for these burgers. Yum.


Our Visitor Tonight: Daughter Liz

Liz came over for dinner tonight. Ron is off in Argentina with his Spanish class and that left her a little more free to make the trek over from Glendale after work. I made her one of her favorite meals: noodles with homemade tomato sauce. The fact that my children were fed this meal every night literally for years makes me wonder why any of them would want it now. However, all three of my girls have told me that spaghetti or noodles with my tomato sauce is one of their primary comfort foods – it reminds them of home. I will just take that as a compliment and leave it at that.

Liz is the new coordinator of the Glendale Adventist Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program, which is where her sister, Sarah, is working as a resident. This gives these sisters a chance to see each other at least a day or two a week at work, plus Liz lives really close to her new work so the family can rendezvous at her apartment when we are returning Luna to her mother after keeping her at our house. (Liz’s place is closer for us than Sarah’s). So, all is well in the employment department for Liz.

Tonight we just sat and caught up on all the news related to work and home over the past couple of weeks.

Thank you, Liz, for making the trek over. It was lovely to see you.
Send our best to Ron when you talk to him. Tell him to have lots of fun.

Talk soon, folks. It is time for bed.